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VOL. 130 | NO. 245 | Thursday, December 17, 2015


Bill Dries

Last Word: Tennessee Brewery Changes, Taylor Berger Emerges and Food Hall Mania

By Bill Dries

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Last Word is a new daily online column that offers an overview of what’s happened at the end of shift, so to speak. Picture a dimly lit newsroom in the Downtown night and the last person in the place leaving a memo for the morning shift and you have a pretty good idea of what we are aiming for.

You can add the saxophone playing a noir theme or even EDM if you wish. Some of this will include links to stories, other parts will be a reporter’s notebook of items that didn’t make the story.

The plans for developing the Tennessee Brewery changed a bit Wednesday before the Board of Adjustment and encountered some opposition as Madeline Faber reports.
Some of the discussion was about density – a topic that has come up at most gatherings that take a broad look at how the city should change in a planned way. Most agree the city should be denser. The brewery project represents the next step in those conversations – How much density is too much?

Meanwhile Taylor Berger emerges and so does the CEO of the Bacchanal in New Orleans who thinks Berger’s concept for the old Loflin Safe & Lock Co. is too similar to Bacchanal.

Grizzlies 98 - Bulls 85 in the Gasol vs. Gasol match-up in Chicago.

Add the “food hall” to the list of retail brand and food concepts that we seemingly can’t get enough of. What’s interesting about this at another level is how some of us – namely me – have little sense of what will set off another round of civic giddiness until something like this breaks.
Earlier this year, Mayor A C Wharton departed from a script during a speech at the Memphis Rotary Club in what he thought was a throwaway line about Cheesecake Factory coming to town. It was an ad-lib aimed at millennials.
Within a couple of hours, it was seemingly all some of us could talk about after Ikea-mania had just swept the city. And the mother of all brands we’ve envied from afar for years – Trader Joe’s (cue angelic choir) was promised this fall for the still-forming Germantown supermarket cluster with lots of speculation that it won’t be the only Trader Joe’s (again with the choir) won’t be limited to one location in Shelby County.

A run-down of local financial sector reaction to the Fed’s quarter of a point rise in interest rates, the first in seven years from Andy Meek.

On the political front, a final look at the Memphis City Council that almost was – still a few weeks left before they leave office. You can learn a lot about folks by watching them work 12-hour days twice a month at City Hall.

Beale Street has always been the point where politics and entertainment meet. And the district is about to live up to that reputation at an important juncture in its rebirth.

Shelby County Schools leaders announced Wednesday they will convert three high schools – Mitchell, Westwood and Douglass into I-Zone schools next school year. The expected announcement comes the day after an unexpected amendment to the framework for a short-term strategic plan to come for the school system. The friendly but competitive relationship between SCS and the Achievement School District is becoming less friendly.

Sam Stockard, our Nashville correspondent, on U.S. Sen. Bob Corker’s view on visa waivers.

Bioworks has a new division – agriculture innovation headed by Pete Nelson, an agricultural entrepreneur we first encountered several years ago in a venture that explored the use of sorghum as a fuel source.

Numbers galore with FedEx earnings and the state’s November revenue collections.

A change at the Health, Education and Housing Facility Board. John Baker, the executive director of the board that issues tax exempt bonds for multi-family residential, has resigned after being on the board for 17 years.

In reviewing the 800-page Tennessee Bureau of Investigation file on the Darrius Stewart shooting, one of the many items you immediately notice is that the witnesses to the shooting by Memphis Police officer Connor Schilling interviewed all talked of immediately turning on their iPhone cameras once they sensed something was going wrong.
For some, it was the sound of the first shot. For others it was just the presence of the police car.
The result was the videos that are part of the file which you can access through our first-day coverage of its contents.
But the file also includes numerous memos on TBI agents who tried to get even more iPhone videos of the encounter and the sometimes hostile reactions they got. The investigators didn’t want a copy. They wanted the original video for examination to determine its authenticity and to view it with the knowledge that nothing relevant was edited out.
The result was no video the TBI has recorded the entire incident from beginning to end.
The attorneys for Stewart’s family announced Wednesday they are offering a $2,500 reward for anyone who can provide video or audio of the encounter in its entirety. They pledge to turn it over to the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI which is investigating the shooting.

Keep those cards and letters coming to Last Word through bdries@memphisdailynews.com

PROPERTY SALES 81 277 20,909
MORTGAGES 85 329 24,074
BUILDING PERMITS 219 672 43,265
BANKRUPTCIES 64 238 13,418